NEWS: Olin receives NEH grant for AI, climate change, and humanities curriculum integration

April 29, 2024

Olin faculty have received a $60,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to fund the integration of Artificial Intelligence and Climate Change curriculum into STEM courses.

Caitrin Lynch, professor of anthropology and project director, is joined by five Olin co-directors: Rob Martello, professor of the history of science and technology; Erhardt Graeff, associate professor of social and computer science; Alessandra Ferzoco, assistant professor of measurement science; Victoria Dean, assistant professor of computer science; Gillian Epstein, senior lecturer in English and writing initiatives specialist. In the next two years, the Spotlight on Humanities in Higher Education grant team will run faculty development workshops and will offer support for implementation of new approaches in courses.

“This grant will support Olin faculty in their pursuit of a key aspect of Olin’s founding premise: for a true technical education to live up to its claims, it must be a true liberal education,” said Lynch. “Topics in AI and climate change connect to vital humanities content areas and disciplinary questions that our community is deeply invested in. We’re eager to better support our students in their development of an appreciation of the interaction of social and technical factors for effective work in these domains.”

The goals of the grant are: (a) Create and pilot humanities modules in STEM classes; (b) Increase the STEM faculty members' comfort and confidence in their ability to integrate humanities topics into their courses; (c) Create curricular coverage of humanities topics across the STEM curriculum; and (d) Disseminate outcomes/learnings to scholars outside of Olin.

Ten Olin faculty participants per year will integrate humanities content related to Artificial Intelligence and/or Climate Change into their STEM courses. Workshops include content expertise and course design advice from external humanities experts, and time to work with Olin humanities and STEM faculty on curricular implementation. STEM faculty participants will create humanities content, incorporate it in one or more courses, and participate in post-course reflection and reporting.

The Spotlight on Humanities in Higher Education program supports the exploration and development of small projects that would benefit underserved populations through the teaching and study of the humanities at small and medium-sized colleges and universities. In this competition, the Spotlight on Humanities in Higher Education grant program received 94 applications and made 22 awards, totaling $1.1 million. 

NEH Grant Thumbnail - student looking down at computer next to student looking up at board

Olin students in the classroom. Image taken by Tom Kates.


Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at:

Founded in 1997, Olin instills passion and ignites innovation in its students and prepares them to envision, create and deliver products, services, and systems that transform and improve people’s lives around the world. Olin teaches students to be explorers and creators who design their own path forward. By challenging norms and sharing its unique approach to education, Olin is revolutionizing the way engineers, and all undergraduates, learn and create knowledge. Located in Needham Massachusetts, Olin is ranked among the top-three undergraduate engineering programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report.